America can trust that its democracy is in safe hands with Democrat President Joe Biden after his Republican predecessor Donald Trump almost became our first dictator. But Mr. Biden just ended his seven-month honeymoon as president by making a huge mistake in how he began withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan to end America’s longest war, which went on for twenty years. The decision to leave was a difficult one; but it’s how it was done that has brought intense criticism on Biden from both our own citizens, even many in his own political party, and also allies such as the UK who fought in this war against the Taliban as it tried to prop up the Afghan government.
Without a doubt, it was a difficult decision for President Biden to make in pulling out of this war. We had gone there with our military strength because Afghanistan had harbored the militant Islamic terrorist group Al Qaeda and its leader Osama bin Laden. Our main goal was find and kill that leader. After many years, it happened, yet U.S. forces remained there to further restrain such Islamic terrorist groups, including ISIS which also had some presence there. The U.S. government eventually said it was not in Afghanistan for nation building, even though that had been a purpose of President George W. Bush.
Biden argues that there was no easy way for us to get out. Right, but it surely could have been done better that that. U.S. personnel are still there in Kabul, waiting for airplanes to fly them out. But the biggest tragedy could be the hundreds of thousands of Afghan people who aided forces of the U.S. and its allies while there. The ruthless Taliban could exercise revenge against them. Instead, the West’s forces should have remained, establishing a protected perimeter involving Kabul, the capital, until many people had gotten out of the country.
But President Biden made it worse with his speech to nation about this Monday night. His worst blunder may have been his accusation that the Afghan army the U.S. and its allies were training all those years acted cowardly by giving up to the Taliban’s insurgency the last few days. But the handwriting was on the wall, so that Mr. Biden and his security and military advisors appear to have expected too much from them. Yet he said most boldly and firmly, “Here’s what I believe to my core. It is wrong to order American troops to step up when Afghanistan’s own armed forces would not.”
There are so many government leaders, both here and abroad, who are criticizing this Biden method of withdrawal. Republican Representative Liz Cheney, daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney under the George W. Bush administration, said of Biden’s Monday speech, “A truly ignorant and shameful performance by an American president.” But Biden could have chimed back that the Bush-Cheney administration is what got us into Afghanistan. However, Americans would have wanted nothing less since Al Qaeda had heisted four airplanes one morning, on 9/11, and with them killed almost 3,000 Americans and destroyed those twin towers in Manhattan.
With Trump as president, his unilateral ways and constant caustic remarks against our allies were causing them to say the U.S. could no longer be trusted and that the nation is on downward, spiraling path from its elevated superpower status. Biden’s strategy, or lack thereof, of pulling our troops out of Afghanistan has contributed to that assessment.
BTW, I’m a veteran and Mr. Biden is not. I don’t think he should have talked that way about the Afghan army. Through the years, it suffered way, way more casualties than we Americans did.
In my opinion, the main reason the U.S. failed in its mission in Afghanistan has been a failure to understand religion. In fact, the U.S. legacy of our freedom of religion and separation of church and state has throughout our history resulted in an ignoring of religion when it comes to foreign affairs. This debacle was well explained by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in her book The Mighty and the Almighty: Reflections on America, God, and World Affairs (2006).
Afghanistan is a very mountainous and tribal country without much of a central government, and the huge majority of its people are illiterate. Moreover, Afghanistan is almost completely Muslim in belief. The Taliban is a militant Islamic group that wants to establish a strong government in Afghanistan that is based on strict Sharia law, which is derived mostly from the Qur’an, the holy book of Islam, and Hadith. Therefore, like almost all of the Middle East, the culture of Afghanistan is extremely different from that of America and most of the West.
The Republicans are now sounding off about this Afghanistan tragedy, being further emboldened as they prepare to try to take back the House and Senate in the upcoming mid-term elections next year. And if that happens, watch out for the would-be dictator making another presidential rerun if he’s not wearing stripes behind bars.